Independent evaluation shows better end of life services for patients in Somerset

by Catherine Salmon
Marketing Manager, Caring Services

An independent evaluation looking at the impact of new end of life services in Somerset and North Somerset has found that patients using the services are less likely to be admitted to hospital or to die in hospital at the end of their lives.

The evaluation was carried out by the University of Bristol and looks at a range of services which aim to support and better coordinate care for people who want to be looked after at home at the end of their lives.

The services, which launched in 2010, were developed through the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme (DCP), in partnership with Marie Curie Cancer Care, NHS Somerset and NHS North Somerset, local Clinical Commissioners, local hospices, acute trusts, social care and voluntary and independent sector organisations.

The study found that people receiving a DCP service were 80 per cent less likely to die in hospital in Somerset compared to those who did not receive care from the DCP. The study also found that emergency admissions to hospital in the last month of life were 39 per cent lower and Accident and Emergency attendances were 34 per cent lower for DCP patients, compared with people not in contact with the services.

In North Somerset, DCP service users were 67 per cent less likely to die in hospital; emergency admissions were 51 per cent lower; and Accident and Emergency attendances were 59 per cent lower.

The evaluation also looks at the experiences of patients, families, carers and health professionals using the services, who consistently reported excellent quality, co-ordinated care. Family carers in particular found all services with direct patient contact very beneficial, reporting that the services released them from their full time caring role and reduced their anxieties.

Read the evaluation